What began as a promising season for the Northwest College men’s soccer team turned sour in its final weeks, as a pair of losses on their home pitch over the weekend cost the Trappers a spot in …
What began as a promising season for the Northwest College men’s soccer team turned sour in its final weeks, as a pair of losses on their home pitch over the weekend cost the Trappers a spot in the postseason.
A 2-1 loss in overtime to Northeastern Junior College (10-5, 7-1 in Region IX play) Friday at Trapper Field turned Saturday’s contest against Western Nebraska CC into a must-win for the Trappers (6-8-1, 4-8 in Region IX play). But despite NWC’s control of the time of possession, the team was unable to capitalize on scoring opportunities; the Cougars escaped Saturday’s contest with a 1-0 win, ending the Trappers’ hopes for a berth in the Region IX tournament.
The Trappers will close out the 2019 season Saturday at Central Wyoming in Riverton.
“I’m disappointed, to say the least,” said first-year head coach Ben McArthur. “I was really proud of my guys on Friday to compete with one of the top teams in the region and lose in overtime.”
The Trappers gave Northeastern all they could handle Friday. They drew first blood after the Plainsmen inadvertently knocked the ball into their own goal in the game’s 52nd minute, putting NWC up 1-0.
Northeastern brought the game back to square 10 minutes later, and the hard-fought contest went into overtime. The Plainsmen found the back of the net six minutes into the extra period to claim the 2-1 win.
“We continue to struggle finishing our chances,” McArthur said. “Chanhwi [Jung] and Woody [Brandon Pyron] continue to play at a high level on defense, but we just can’t find the back of the net.”
Saturday’s contest against Western Nebraska was much of the same — the Trappers controlled the tempo throughout, but that effort wasn’t reflected on the scoreboard.
The two teams were at a stalemate until the game’s 39th minute, when the Cougars’ Matheus Lima found the back of the net for what would end up being the gamewinner. The Trappers continued to generate chances but couldn’t finish, as they watched their postseason hopes slip away with a 1-0 loss.
“Saturday we dominated possession, but couldn’t find any goals,” McArthur said. “We have proven this year to be a team that struggles with scoring, but won the possession battle most games.”
It was a bittersweet end to a season that began with such promise — the Trappers rattled off six wins and a tie in their first nine contests, and appeared to be a lock for the tournament. But a four-game losing streak added a level of urgency to last weekend’s games, and with two more losses, a shot at the tournament slipped away.
“We’re disappointed not to make the tournament after such a good start, but I will learn as a coach going into year two what has to happen for us to compete,” McArthur said. “I think it’s important to try and learn something every game, every practice. This off-season, my freshmen will continue to build the culture we need to improve.”